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Last Updated:8/6/03
Speech by Rep. John Mica (R-Florida), July 23, 2003

Mr. MICA. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the requisite number of words.

I come in very strong opposition to the McGovern amendment. I could not be any more opposed to any amendment that has been proposed in the House in some time. Let me discuss for my colleagues, some of them have been here, some of them have not been here during what has happened with the increase of illegal narcotics coming in from Colombia.

In 1992 and 1993, these charts are almost unbelievable. There is almost no cocaine coming in from Colombia, and there was zero heroin coming in from Colombia. Then appeared on the scene the Clinton administration which said, oh, we cannot harm the hairs on any guerrillas, we must protect human rights in Colombia and we must not do anything about drug trafficking there; we must not interfere in the civil conflict. We did nothing and tens of thousands died. Members of the legislature, members of the judiciary, citizens by the thousands died in the civil war that had gone on there, and the atrocities increased.

The production of illegal narcotics increased, and the deadly narcotics came from Colombia. Here is the statistics: again, zero in 1993 and almost all of the deadly heroin coming into the United States, and this had some results. The results are absolutely incredible.

In the year 2000, 19,698, almost double from 1993, Americans died from drug-related deaths, more than homicides. We have a silent war going on in this country. So we sat down and we formed a plan, and it was opposed time and time again.

Former Congressman Gilman, who chaired the Committee on International Relations, brought forth a Plan Colombia and plans to try to bring in helicopters to go after this, to assist in training the Colombians and attacking drugs and terrorism; and it was shot down time and time again.

Finally, through the leadership of the gentleman from New York (Mr. Hastert), who was chair of the Subcommittee on Drug Oversight, and God, I think, had a hand in making him Speaker of the House, we were able to get Plan Colombia together.

The critics said we were wrong, The Washington Post said. The critics now say we are right. Plan Colombia and President Bush have put it into action to train the military down there, to stop the violence. The violence has stopped. The statistics we hear are old statistics. Twenty-five percent reduction in murders, 33 percent reduction in killing. We stopped some of the killing, and this amendment will again put us in the position of beginning the killing, beginning the destruction, not only in Colombia but on our streets and neighborhoods.

[Time: 20:45]
So we have a chance now to move Plan Colombia forward and we cannot destroy that chance through this amendment.

Plan Colombia, the progress is unbelievable. It benefitted 22,829 families in Colombia, supported 24,549 hectares of legal crops, it completed 349 community projects, established 33 legal service centers, constructed 19 oral trial courtrooms, trained 3,400 judges, and aided 774,000 internally displaced people. Those are the statistics. That is the truth. That is what Plan Colombia has done, and we cannot take a step backward tonight.

It would be a disaster for those mothers and fathers that I have met with who have lost their children from the cocaine, the heroin that has come up from Colombia that we have not stopped. We have a chance tonight to move Plan Colombia forward or move it backward and allow the killing to continue in Colombia. Again, in the name of human rights, how many more people should die there? How many more people should die on the streets of my neighborhood in Florida or in the streets of New York? Rich, poor, all are affected by what is going on. What about the silent deaths by the tens of thousands in our country?

Tonight would be the worst step we could take in the history of this Congress relating to our work against illegal narcotics to pass this amendment, to take a step backward to where we were, and to do what did not work should not be allowed to again happen in the Congress of the United States. I oppose the amendment.

As of August 6, 2003, this document was also available online at http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/B?r108:@FIELD(FLD003+h)+@FIELD(DDATE+20030723)

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